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Sisi Rondina unleashes full arsenal in Game One win

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Tiebreaker Times Sisi Rondina unleashes full arsenal in Game One win News UAAP UST Volleyball  UST Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Cherry Rondina

Soon-to-be-crowned UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball MVP Sisi Rondina had more up her sleeve than what she has displayed so far.

The 5-foot-6 spiker out of Cebu tallied a league-best 259 points this season from myriad powerful and angled hits.

But in Game One of the Finals against the Ateneo Lady Eagles, Rondina and the Tigresses ran a misdirection play that had her swing for a modified running hit.

Usually a move in the arsenal of taller middle blockers like Ateneo’s Maddie Madayag, Rondina exploded for two slide hits in the first set.

Rondina’s dominant performance of 23 points encapsulated UST’s overall excellence over the Lady Eagles.

“Sobrang focused lang talaga ako. Wala akong ibang iniisip eh, laro lang talaga,” said Rondina.

Rondina has adopted a rigid pregame ritual of heavy visualization through watching game tape, the night before game day.

Tiebreaker Times Sisi Rondina unleashes full arsenal in Game One win News UAAP UST Volleyball  UST Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Cherry Rondina

“Kagabi pa ako nag-iisip – ano yung galaw ko, ano yung magiging service ko, ano yung magiging receive ko. Nagi-imagery na ako kagabi pa. Sabi ko nga, okay ‘to paggising ko,” the decorated beach volleyball star shared.

“Nananaginip ako kagabi sa laro, pero hindi ko alam kung sino nananalo eh.

“Pagka-gising ko, okay siguro ‘to, muscle memory na talaga siguro ‘to. Hindi ko naman agad sinasabi na maganda ang laro ko, pero sinasabi ko sa mga bata na pinapakita ko yung attitude ko, na kailangan nating manalo. Andito na tayo, inaasam-asam na natin ‘to, ang sarap sa feeling na ganito. So sabay-sabay tayong manalo, at sabay-sabay tayong ngingiti pagkatapos ng araw na ‘to,” she continued.

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Rondina can clinch a title – her fifth in the UAAP, but first on the Taraflex – in Game Two on Wednesday. In what could be her final UAAP match, Rondina is glad to have her full arsenal ready.

“Ang masasabi ko lang kasi sa palo ko ngayon, nilagyan ko lang siya ng variation talaga. Nakikinig ako sa mga bata at sa mga coaches namin, na hindi lahat malakas, hindi lahat brasuhan. Kailangan mo na utakan,” the four-time UAAP champion said.

“Kanina medyo lumabas yung panggigigil ko. Buti na lang, na-compose ko ang sarili ko. And wala akong ibang ginwhatawa, wala akong ibang inisip. Lulusot ‘to, pupuntos ‘to, para sa team ko.”

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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